Something's Being Restored Here

When Bobby Ross was hired to replace Todd Berry a couple of years ago, he was brought aboard to restore the proud tradition of Army Football… not to the level of Earl "Red" Blaik, but to a level worthy of Jim Young's and Bob Sutton's better teams. At a time when academy football will never be quite what it used to be, Army wanted a coach whose name and credentials would bring back some level of stature to West Point football.

After Saturday's 38-10 throttling of Arkansas State, references to history are being made within the members of the Army football family, and that can only be a good thing on the banks of the Hudson River.

An Army football team has now managed to go unbeaten in the month of November for the first time since 1971.

Army has won consecutive games at Michie Stadium for the first time since 1999.

Perhaps best of all, the Black Knights' seniors walked off the field with a Senior Day win for the first time in the program's history since 1997.

Army was solid against Akron, resourceful against Air Force, and downright clutch against Massachusetts. But on this afternoon, the Black Knights were positively dominating. It was just the latest example of how a team is growing up and learning how to win in a season that has now doubled last year's win total. Bobby Ross and his son, offensive coordinator Kevin Ross, decided to cram the ball down the throat of the Arkansas State defense. After 187 yards from Carlton Jones, the wisdom of that game plan was affirmed in a very big way. Whereas Zac Dahman's passing took center stage the week before against the Minutemen from New England, this week's game saw Jones--Army's heralded stud workhorse--run wild against a bunch of Indians from the Ozarks. When teams mature and ripen, progressing from a pushover to a power in the college football pecking order, they manage to win with different faces, various contributors, and multiple methods. Army is becoming that kind of team.

A four-game winning streak is reason enough for euphoria--in West Point or anywhere else in the country. But what has to have Bobby Ross and Army football fans so excited is the very fact that each win has shown something different from this team. Each week, the Black Knights have found a way to win in an original way. Sometimes, the defense has made a late stand, while on other occasions, the offense had to make a ballsy fourth-quarter drive. In Akron, the defense smothered the opposition while the offense tried to find its footing; today, Army's offense put its foot down with Jones and the ground game, and an overmatched Arkansas State team never fully found an answer.

Speaking of answers, that's exactly what Ross and his staff have found after an opening month and a half filled with frustration and disappointingly uneven play. An 0-6 start has now been answered by a 4-0 burst, and in one month--a November to remember--the outlook for the entire Army program has changed, pleasantly and substantially.

Now, there is one more football game to be played. It comes against a team you might have heard of: Navy.

But first, Army should take an off week to heal and, over the Thanksgiving dinner table, be thankful for this four-game winning streak. It's a rarity at a lot of programs; that it has now happened at Army is proof positive that Bobby Ross is doing what he was hired to do: restore the luster of a program that had a morale problem back in 2003, the year that brought about his hire in the first place. Ross is Boss, Senior Day at Michie Stadium witnessed a victory by the home team, and Army football is on the comeback trail. There will be a definite spirit of Thanksgiving this week in West Point.


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